Sleeping Beauty

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Scheduling a good night’s sleep could be one of the smartest health priorities you set for yourself and your family.  Documented potential health consequences of getting too little or poor sleep involve the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.  In addition to letting life get in the way of good sleep, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders that affect daily functioning and negatively impacts health.  Here’s some research:

  • The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that children with insomnia or short sleep duration are more likely to have behavioral issues like ADHD.
  • Oddly enough, you may also make bad food choices. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that people with restless sleep patterns ate a diet higher in cholesterol, protein, total fat, and total saturated fat. Women were especially affected.
  • Diabetes may become more likely. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people getting 5 or fewer hours of sleep each night were 2.5 times more likely to be diabetic, while those with six hours or fewer were 1.7 times more likely.
  • A report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that ~20% of serious car crash injuries involve a sleepy (independent of alcohol) driver.
  • A study in the Journal of Gerontology found that Seniors who who have trouble falling asleep and who wake up at night, or are drowsy during the day could be 2 to 4.5 times more likely to sustain a fall.
  • According to an Institute of Medicine report,  people who sleep less than 7 hours a night had a greater likelihood of being obese. Insufficient sleep appears to tip hunger hormones out of whack.
  • According to 3 large studies published in the journals Sleep and the Archives of General Psychiatry, people over age 30 who slept 5 hours or less per night had approximately a 15% greater risk of dying, regardless of the cause.
  • All people, regardless of age, who chronically had inadequate amounts of rest, were more prone to depression reporting more mental distress, alcohol use and depression.
  • Another study found that heart attacks were 45% more likely in women who slept for 5 or fewer hours per night than in those who got more.

Lifestyle is in the Health News again and again and again.  The importance of living a healthy lifestyle to both avoid unnecessary illness and to promote health and wellness seem to be in the news on a daily basis.  Yet, the decision or personal choice to change one’s life by changing one’s lifestyle seems to continue to take second place to “I’ll deal with the problem after if occurs.”  This approach has led to a deterioration of our individual and family health status.

Make sure you get the rest that you deserve!!!